Independent Booksellers: Surviving in the digital age

“It’s not like the hey day of Independent Bookstores yet, we’re not back to where we were 10-15 years ago. ”

Arsen Kashkashian, the head buyer for the Boulder Bookstore says that sales have been improving in the past 6 months to a year adding that the bookstore had one of the strongest Christmas periods in several years. That correlates with the experience of independent booksellers nationwide. The American Booksellers Association reports that sales rose 9% in December at indie bookstores nationwide, and sales for the year were up 6%. But Kashkashian says it’s still a struggle for independent bookstores to compete in the digital age. Much analysis has been done on the impact of internet booksellers like Amazon on independent brick and mortar bookstores, but Kashkashian says that it could be a larger societal issue of people simply reading less. He recounts being at a cafe recently and seeing most people looking at their smart phones or i-pads, instead of reading books.

“10-15 years ago, most people would have books, or newspapers or magazines. That change in the culture as to how we entertain ourselves in these in between moments, that’s a challenge.”